Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Iranian Alert -- DAY 39 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 7.18.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 07/18/2003 12:00:58 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

click here to read article

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-62 last
To: nuconvert; DoctorZIn; AdmSmith; RaceBannon; Eala; piasa; Texas_Dawg; norton
Iran: An independent inquiry must be opened into the death of Zahra Kazemi

Press release, 15/07/2003

Amnesty International added its voice today to the calls made by Iran's Islamic Human Rights Commission and other international human rights organizations in calling for an independent and thorough investigation into the death in custody of 54-year-old photojournalist Zahra Kazemi on 12 July 2003.
"Iran's obligations under international human rights treaties require the establishment of an independent and impartial judicial inquiry to determine the causes of Zahra Kazemi's death," Amnesty International said.

"Such investigation must also determine whether Zahra Kazemi was ill-treated or tortured in custody as some reports have indicated," the organization added.

Zahra Kazemi, who had dual Canadian and Iranian nationality, died at the Baghiyetollah Hospital in Tehran while under guard. She was arrested for taking photographs of people protesting against the detention of family members outside the Evin prison in northern Tehran. Amnesty International has documented for years cases of ill-treatment and torture in detention.

The organization welcomed reports that President Mohammad Khatami ordered the Ministers of the Interior, Justice, Intelligence and Culture and Islamic Guidance to investigate Zahra Kazemi's death in custody.

"The authorities must enact concrete measures aimed at ending all forms of ill-treatment in Iran, such as acceding to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment," the organization said.

"Only a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation will serve the interests of justice."
51 posted on 07/18/2003 10:08:16 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
-- In the wake of press reports indicating that more journalists have been arrested in Iran,..."
What press reports? (Probably from us here)
This was on the State Dept site?
The media doesn't think this is newsworthy either? I guess not since they covered up the original story.

unethical media >redundant
52 posted on 07/18/2003 10:17:41 PM PDT by nuconvert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 50 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Thank you for the posts. I'm glad to see the Amnesty International will be investigating Zahra's "execution". That may be a harsh word, but that's the only way I know to describe it.

What do you make of this?

BTW, Fox News had an excellent report on the Cuban jamming of the satellite signals. I hope we do something about that.
53 posted on 07/18/2003 10:55:57 PM PDT by dixiechick2000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 51 | View Replies]

To: nuconvert; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; Eala; rontorr; yonif; Valin; piasa; Texas_Dawg; BeforeISleep; ...

PARIS 17 July (IPS) It is now becoming clear that the man who caused the death of Ms. Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-born, Canadian photojournalist is Mr. Sa’id Mortazavi, promoted recently by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic as the Prosecutor of Tehran and the Islamic Revolution tribunal.

Ms. Kazemi, 54, was detained on 23 June in front of the Evin prison and died in hospital on 11 July of what Iranian officials admitted Wednesday as brain hemorrhage due to "blows" received on her head during interrogations at the Intelligence Ministry.

At first, Iranian authorities said the photographer died from a brain stroke, but on Wednesday, and under mounting pressures from the international human rights and press organizations, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali Abtahi, President Mohammad Khatami’s deputy for legal and parliamentary affairs confirmed for the first time officially that Ms. Kazemi died of brain bleeding "due to blows on her head".

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said during a conference call with media on Wednesday that he had been told by his Iranian counterpart that Ms. Kazemi died of a fractured skull; although how she got the fatal injury had not been determined.

"The incident has no outcome other than tarnishing our international image at a time when we are in deep crisis at home and abroad", Abtahi told journalists.

Informed sources, speaking on conditions of anonymity, revealed Thursday that the arrest of Ms. Kazemi was ordered by Mr. Mortazavi who personally interrogated the photojournalist and beat her "frequently" in order "to force her to reveal the country that had sent her to Iran for espionage".

"Mortazavi personally beat on Kazemi’s head with his shoe", the French daily "Liberation" reported on Thursday, quoting "well-informed Iranian sources.

"The men who arrested Ms. Kazemi were plainclothes thugs belonging to Mr. Mortazavi, who interrogated her at his own office. During the 3-4 days she was there, the photographer was under constant tortures and savagely beaten up by Mr. Mortazavi and other interrogators from the Judiciary", confirmed Dr. Karim Lahji, an outstanding Iranian jurist and lawyer based in Paris.

"She was handed over to the Information Ministry after she suffered injuries. There, people, seeing her bad physical state, send her to the medical department, where doctors immediately decided to transfer her to the Baqiatollah hospital, where she went into coma before dying", added Lahiji, who now acts as defence for Ms. Kazemi’s 26 years-old Stephen Hachemi.

Both the Iranian Islamic Human Rights Committee and the Majles’ Foreign Affairs and Security Committee have also confirmed that Ms. Kazemi was under the custody of the leader-controlled Judiciary and Tehran’s prosecutor, interrogated and tortured before being handed over to the Information Ministry.

Informed sources told Iran Press Service that at least four Iranian journalists, namely Reza Alijani, Hoda Saber, Taqi Rahmani and Amir Teyrani, all close to the Nationalist-religious movements, are in Mortazavi’s custody and tortured.

Rejecting demands by the Canadian government, Stephen Hachemi and Iranian and international human rights and press groups for the transfer of Ms. Katemi’s body to Montreal for autopsy, Iranian government’s official spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said on Wednesday that once identified and arrested, the would be culprits would be handed over to the Judiciary, meaning to Judge Mortazavi, the very man that murdered the journalist.

Tehran, which insists adamantly that Ms. Kazemi is an Iranian citizen and never mention her Canadian citizenship, have so far rejected the demands, but promised Ottawa that they would do "all they can" to have the culprits punished according to Iranian laws.

"If proved that she was spying, then there would be no culprits", one Iranian journalist noted, reminding that the Iranian Judiciary would eventually take up that accusation to absolve itself from charges of manslaughter.

Iranian conservatives-controlled newspapers have criticised Mr. Khatami for naming an investigation committee in the case of Ms. Kazemi’s death and imply indirectly that she might have been a spy, since she had been arrested while taking pictures near the notorious Evin prison, a restricted area.

"If crimes have been committed, we are demanding of the Iranian government to punish those who committed the crime and we will push that case", Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said after meeting Chilean President Ricardo Lagos.

"Because if it is the case, it's completely unacceptable that a journalist goes there to do professional work and is threatened that way".

In response to a statement by Chretien earlier this week that Canada-Iran relations would be affected if Iran does not transfer Kazemi's body to Canada, Ramezanzadeh said Chretien has not considered international law.

"Kazemi is an Iranian and therefore subject to national law", Ramezanzadeh observed.

But jurists say since Kazemi is also a Canadian citizen, therefore Canada has the right to ask for the body to be returned to her homeland.

In faxes to both the lamed and unpopular Iranian leader and the powerless president, the Rome-based Association of Iranian Journalists Abroad (AIJA) said it holds Mr. Khameneh'i as the "only person responsible for the murder of Ms. Kazemi and asked both men to say:

Who ordered the arrest of Ms. Kazemi?

Who were those who arrested her?

Why the authorities did not report on her arrest?

Where she had been held and who were the interrogators?

Why she was hospitalized in a hospital belonging to the Revolutionary Guards?

Other Iranian experts, speaking to the reformers-controlled "Emrooz" (Today) internet newspaper, asked: Was the photojournalist beaten up and if the answer if positive, why?

Was she also beaten while in prison?

Where was she held before being transferred to hospital?

Why the authorities first claimed Ms. Kazemi died on brain stroke?

Why it was Mortazavi who wrote the news about the death and passed it to Mr. (Mohammad Hoseyn) Khoshvaqt to be published in the name of the Guidance Ministry?

What are the connections between the death of Ms. Kazemi with Mr. Mortazavi?

If the photographer was Iranian, why it was the General Director (of the Guidance Ministry) in charge of Foreign Press that announced the death?

Which organs want the body be buried the soonest possible?

Why it was announced that Ms. Kazemi was a spy? Were the accusations examined? And by which organs?
54 posted on 07/18/2003 10:57:49 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: dixiechick2000
There is no doubt why they are trying to make such weapons.
If they reach one or two bombs, they can easily rule Iran and they won't be afraid of any foreign intervention.
They will be a bigger threat to Israel and their own people.
These mullahs do not recognize any right or law.
The only way to get rid of them is to topple them as soon as possible.
55 posted on 07/18/2003 11:03:10 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 53 | View Replies]

To: nuconvert; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; Eala; rontorr; yonif; Valin; piasa; Texas_Dawg; BeforeISleep; ...
U.S. Questions Cuba About Jamming TV Signals to Iran.

WASHINGTON — The United States has confronted Cuban representatives in Washington about whether Cuba has been blocking U.S. satellite signals used to broadcast television to Iran.

We have indeed raised the jamming with the government of Cuba. I think I would say the interference with Loral Skynet's (search) commercial satellite transmissions appears to be emanating from the vicinity of Cuba. It does appear to be intentional. So, yesterday, we called in Cuban government representatives in Washington, and we formally requested the Cuban government to look into the matter," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Friday.

National Iranian Television (search), based in Los Angeles, and the U.S. government's Voice of America (search) send signals from various points in the United States to Telstar-12, located above the North Atlantic Ocean. The signal is then redistributed and sent down to Iran.

But officials say a jamming signal that basically scrambles the broadcast before it reaches television sets has been traced to an area near Havana, Cuba. The site identified by U.S. satellite photos is a facility in Cuba known as Lourdes, built back in 1962 with the help of the Soviets.

NITV has been broadcasting uncensored news, talk and entertainment into Iran since 2000, and Iran's Islamic government has accused the television company of stoking student protest movements against the government. U.S. officials believe Iran contracted Cuba to do the job. The two are close allies, with Cuba getting most of its oil from Iran.

The blocking comes on the eve of a four-year anniversary of large student protests and follows a recent surge of protests by students who want the government overthrown. Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has offered to resign to appease the protesters.

Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, said that if officials in Tehran had asked Havana to help, the goal would have been "to block the flow of news in a time when they obviously thought they were going to loose control of their own people."

The Iranian government denies that it has anything to do with any jamming of signals. Iran would be unable to block the signal on its own because it must be jammed from a position in the Atlantic Ocean, under the satellites.

Cuban authorities have long scrambled signals by the U.S. government toward its country, but no country has ever blocked transmissions between two other countries, particularly one in another hemisphere, a U.S. official said earlier this week.

"This is truly unprecedented for a country in the Western Hemisphere to interfere with broadcasting going to a country in the Middle East," said Zia Atabay, president of NITV.

Atabay acknowledges that he and other independent Iranian programmers may pose a threat to Iran's religious leadership by providing uncensored information, but he doesn't apologize.

"Now, when they are shutting my voice and my channel out, it means they are cutting all the voices in Iran," he said.

Tomlinson said the implications for the future of international satellite broadcasting are "ominous."

The Cuban Interests Section (search) in Washington did not respond to requests for comment, but a senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, "We are giving them the chance to find it and close it down."

In Cuba, Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly, told the news agency Prensa Latina that the accusations were part of an anti-Cuban ploy by the United States.

"You never know what they'll come up with to justify aggression against the island," said Alarcon, a top adviser to President Fidel Castro on U.S. affairs,2933,92348,00.html

56 posted on 07/18/2003 11:12:36 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 55 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
"If they reach one or two bombs, they can easily rule Iran and they won't be afraid of any foreign intervention.
They will be a bigger threat to Israel and their own people."

That may be what they sre striving be as big, or bigger, threat to Israel, and us, than N. Korea.

"These mullahs do not recognize any right or law"

That is becoming more obvious by the day.

57 posted on 07/18/2003 11:47:24 PM PDT by dixiechick2000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 55 | View Replies]

To: dixiechick2000; nuconvert; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; Eala; rontorr; yonif; Valin; piasa; Texas_Dawg; ..

Millionaire Mullahs
Paul Klebnikov, 07.21.03

A looming nuclear threat to the rest of the world, Iran is robbing its own people of prosperity. But the men at the top are getting extremely rich.
It's rumble time in Tehran. At dozens of intersections in the capital of Iran thousands of students are protesting on a recent Friday around midnight, as they do nearly every night, chanting pro-democracy slogans and lighting bonfires on street corners. Residents of the surrounding middle-class neighborhoods converge in their cars, honking their horns in raucous support.

Suddenly there's thunder in the air. A gang of 30 motorcyclists, brandishing iron bars and clubs, roars through the stalled traffic. They glare at the drivers, yell threats, thump cars. Burly and bearded, the bikers yank two men from their auto and pummel them. Most protesters scatter. Uniformed policemen watch impassively as the thugs beat the last stragglers.

These bikers are part of the Hezbollah militia, recruited mostly from the countryside. Iran's ruling mullahs roll them out whenever they need to intimidate their opponents. The Islamic Republic is a strange dictatorship. As it moves to repress growing opposition to clerical rule, the regime relies not on soldiers or uniformed police (many of whom sympathize with the protesters) but on the bullies of Hezbollah and the equally thuggish Revolutionary Guards. The powers that be claim to derive legitimacy from Allah but remain on top with gangsterlike methods of intimidation, violence and murder.

Who controls today's Iran? Certainly not Mohammad Khatami, the twice-elected moderate president, or the reformist parliament. Not even the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei--a stridently anti-American but unremarkable cleric plucked from the religious ranks 14 years ago to fill the shoes of his giant predecessor, Ayatollah Khomeini--is fully in control. The real power is a handful of clerics and their associates who call the shots behind the curtain and have gotten very rich in the process.

The economy bears more than a little resemblance to the crony capitalism that sprouted from the wreck of the Soviet Union. The 1979 revolution expropriated the assets of foreign investors and the nation's wealthiest families; oil had long been nationalized, but the mullahs seized virtually everything else of value--banks, hotels, car and chemical companies, makers of drugs and consumer goods. What distinguishes Iran is that many of these assets were given to Islamic charitable foundations, controlled by the clerics. According to businessmen and former foundation executives, the charities now serve as slush funds for the mullahs and their supporters.

Iran has other lethal secrets besides its nuclear program, now the subject of prying international eyes. Dozens of interviews with businessmen, merchants, economists and former ministers and other top government officials reveal a picture of a dictatorship run by a shadow government that--the U.S. State Department suspects--finances terrorist groups abroad through a shadow foreign policy. Its economy is dominated by shadow business empires and its power is protected by a shadow army of enforcers.

Ironically, the man most adept at manipulating this hidden power structure is one of Iran's best-known characters--Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has been named an ayatollah, or religious leader. He was the speaker of parliament and Khomeini's right-hand man in the 1980s, president of Iran from 1989 to 1997 and is now chairman of the powerful Expediency Council, which resolves disputes between the clerical establishment and parliament. Rafsanjani has more or less run the Islamic Republic for the past 24 years.

He played it smart, aligning himself in the 1960s with factions led by Ayatollah Khomeini, then becoming the go-to guy after the revolution. A hard-liner ideologically, Rafsanjani nonetheless has a pragmatic streak. He convinced Khomeini to end the Iran-Iraq war and broke Iran's international isolation by establishing trade relations with the Soviet Union, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In the 1990s he restarted Iran's nuclear program.

He is also the father of Iran's "privatization" program. During his presidency the stock market was revived, some government companies were sold to insiders, foreign trade was liberalized and the oil sector was opened up to private companies. Most of the good properties and contracts, say dissident members of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, ended up in the hands of mullahs, their associates and, not least, Rafsanjani's family, who rose from modest origins as pistachio farmers. "They were not rich people, so they worked hard and always tried to help their relatives get ahead," remembers Reza, a historian who declines to use his last name and who studied with one of Rafsanjani's brothers at Tehran University in the early 1970s. "When they were in university, two brothers earned money on the side tutoring theological students and preparing their exam papers."

The 1979 revolution transformed the Rafsanjani clan into commercial pashas. One brother headed the country's largest copper mine; another took control of the state-owned TV network; a brother-in-law became governor of Kerman province, while a cousin runs an outfit that dominates Iran's $400 million pistachio export business; a nephew and one of Rafsanjani's sons took key positions in the Ministry of Oil; another son heads the Tehran Metro construction project (an estimated $700 million spent so far). Today, operating through various foundations and front companies, the family is also believed to control one of Iran's biggest oil engineering companies, a plant assembling Daewoo automobiles, and Iran's best private airline (though the Rafsanjanis insist they do not own these assets).

None of this sits well with the populace, whose per capita income is $1,800 a year. The gossip on the street, going well beyond the observable facts, has the Rafsanjanis stashing billions of dollars in bank accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg; controlling huge swaths of waterfront in Iran's free economic zones on the Persian Gulf; and owning whole vacation resorts on the idyllic beaches of Dubai, Goa and Thailand.

But not much of the criticism makes its way into print. One journalist who dared to investigate Rafsanjani's secret dealings and his alleged role in extrajudicial killings of dissidents is now languishing in jail. He's lucky. Iranian politics can be deadly. Five years ago Tehran was rocked by murders of journalists and anticorruption activists; some were beheaded, others mutilated.

Some of the family's wealth is out there for all to see. Rafsanjani's youngest son, Yaser, owns a 30-acre horse farm in the superfashionable Lavasan neighborhood of north Tehran, where land goes for over $4 million an acre. Just where did Yaser get his money? A Belgian-educated businessman, he runs a large export-import firm that includes baby food, bottled water and industrial machinery.

Until a few years ago the simplest way to get rich quick was through foreign-currency trades. Easy, if you could get greenbacks at the subsidized import rate of 1,750 rials to the dollar and resell them at the market rate of 8,000 to the dollar. You needed only the right connections for an import license. "I estimate that, over a period of ten years, Iran lost $3 billion to $5 billion annually from this kind of exchange-rate fraud," says Saeed Laylaz, an economist, now with Iran's biggest carmaker. "And the lion's share of that went to about 50 families."

One of the families benefiting from the foreign trade system was the Asgaroladis, an old Jewish clan of bazaar traders, who converted to Islam several generations ago. Asadollah Asgaroladi exports pistachios, cumin, dried fruit, shrimp and caviar, and imports sugar and home appliances; his fortune is estimated by Iranian bankers to be some $400 million. Asgaroladi had a little help from his older brother, Habibollah, who, as minister of commerce in the 1980s, was in charge of distributing lucrative foreign-trade licenses. (He was also a counterparty to commodities trader and then-fugitive Marc Rich, who helped Iran bypass U.S.-backed sanctions.)

The other side of Iran's economy belongs to the Islamic foundations, which account for 10% to 20% of the nation's GDP--$115 billion last year. Known as bonyads, the best-known of these outfits were established from seized property and enterprises by order of Ayatollah Khomeini in the first weeks of his regime. Their mission was to redistribute to the impoverished masses the "illegitimate" wealth accumulated before the revolution by "apostates" and "blood-sucking capitalists." And, for a decade or so, the foundations shelled out money to build low-income housing and health clinics. But since Khomeini's death in 1989 they have increasingly forsaken their social welfare functions for straightforward commercial activities.

Until recently they were exempt from taxes, import duties and most government regulation. They had access to subsidized foreign currency and low-interest loans from state-owned banks. And they were not accountable to the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance or any other government institution. Formally, they are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Leader; effectively, they operate without any oversight, answerable only to Allah.

According to Shiite Muslim tradition, devout businessmen are expected to donate 20% of profits to their local mosques, which use the money to help the poor. By contrast, many bonyads seem like rackets, extorting money from entrepreneurs. Besides the biggest national outfits, almost every Iranian town has its own bonyad, affiliated with local mullahs. "Many small businessmen complain that as soon as you start to make some money, the leading mullah will come to you and ask for a contribution to his local charity," says an opposition economist, who declines to give his name. "If you refuse, you will be accused of not being a good Muslim. Some witnesses will turn up to testify that they heard you insult the Prophet Mohammad, and you will be thrown in jail."

Other charities resemble multinational conglomerates. The Mostazafan & Jambazan Foundation (Foundation for the Oppressed and War Invalids) is the second-largest commercial enterprise in the country, behind the state-owned National Iranian Oil Co. Until recently it was run by a man named Mohsen Rafiqdoost. The son of a vegetable-and-fruit merchant at the Tehran bazaar, Rafiqdoost got his big break in 1979, when he was chosen to drive Ayatollah Khomeini from the airport after his triumphal return from exile in Paris.

Khomeini made him Minister of the Revolutionary Guards to quash internal dissent and smuggle in weapons for the Iran-Iraq war. In 1989, when Rafsanjani became president, "Rafiqdoost" gained control of the Mostazafan Foundation, which employs up to 400,000 workers and has assets that in all probability exceed $10 billion.

Theoretically the Mostazafan Foundation is a social welfare organization. By 1996 it began taking government funds to cover welfare disbursements; soon it plans to spin off its social responsibilities altogether, leaving behind a purely commercial conglomerate owned by--whom? That is not clear. Why does this foundation exist? "I don't know--ask Mr. Rafiqdoost," says Abbas Maleki, a foreign policy adviser to Ayatollah Rafsanjani.

A picture emerges from one Iranian businessman who used to handle the foreign trade deals for one of the big foundations. Organizations like the Mostazafan serve as giant cash boxes, he says, to pay off supporters of the mullahs, whether they're thousands of peasants bused in to attend religious demonstrations in Tehran or Hezbollah thugs who beat up students. And, not least, the foundations serve as cash cows for their managers.

"It usually works like this," explains this businessman. "Some foreigner comes in, proposes a deal to the foundation head. The big boss says: ‘Fine. I agree. Work out the details with my administrator.' So the foreigner goes to see the administrator, who tells him: ‘You know that we have two economies here--official and unofficial. You have to be part of the unofficial economy if you want to be successful. So, you have to deposit the following amount into the following bank account abroad and then the deal will go forward.'"

Today Rafiqdoost heads up the Noor Foundation, which owns apartment blocks and makes an estimated $200 million importing pharmaceuticals, sugar and construction materials. He is quick to downplay his personal wealth. "I am just a normal person, with normal wealth," he says. Then, striking a Napoleonic pose, he adds: "But if Islam is threatened, I will become big again."

Implication: He has access to a secret reservoir of money that can be tapped when the need arises. That may have been what Ayatollah Rafsanjani had in mind when he declared recently that the Islamic Republic needed to keep large funds in reserve. But who is to determine when Islam is in danger?

As minister of the Revolutionary Guards in the 1980s, Rafiqdoost played a key role in sponsoring Hezbollah in Lebanon--which kidnapped foreigners, hijacked airplanes, set off car bombs, trafficked in heroin and pioneered the use of suicide bombers. According to Gregory Sullivan, spokesman for the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at the U.S. State Department, the foundations are the perfect vehicles to carry out Iran's shadow foreign policy. Whenever suspicion of complicity in a terrorist incident turns to Iran, the Tehran government has denied involvement. State Department officials suspect that such operations may be sponsored by one of the foundations and semiautonomous units of the Revolutionary Guards.

Iran's foundations are a law unto themselves. The largest "charity" (at least in terms of real estate holdings) is the centuries-old Razavi Foundation, charged with caring for Iran's most revered shrine--the tomb of Reza, the Eighth Shiite Imam, in the northern city of Mashhad. It is run by one of Iran's leading hard-line mullahs, Ayatollah Vaez-Tabasi, who prefers to stay out of the public eye but emerges occasionally to urge death to apostates and other opponents of the clerical regime.

The Razavi Foundation owns vast tracts of urban real estate all across Iran, as well as hotels, factories, farms and quarries. Its assets are impossible to value with any precision, since the foundation has never released an inventory of its holdings, but Iranian economists speak of a net asset value of $15 billion or more. The foundation also receives generous contributions from the millions of pilgrims who visit the Mashhad shrine each year.

What happens to annual revenues estimated in the hundreds of millions--perhaps billions--of dollars? Not all of it goes to cover the maintenance costs of mosques, cemeteries, religious schools and libraries. Over the past decade the foundation has bought new businesses and properties, established investment banks (together with investors from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) and financed big foreign trade deals.

The driving force behind the commercialization of the Razavi Foundation is Ayatollah Tabasi's son, Naser, who was put in charge of the Sarakhs Free Trade Zone, on the border with the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan. In the 1990s the foundation poured hundreds of millions of dollars into this project, funding a rail link between Iran and Turkmenistan, new highways, an international airport, a hotel and office buildings.

Then it all went wrong. In July 2001 Naser Tabasi was dismissed as director of the Free Trade Zone. Two months later he was arrested and charged with fraud in connection with a Dubai-based company called Al-Makasib. The details remain murky, but four months ago the General Court of Tehran acquitted him.

Iran's most distinguished senior clerics are disgusted by the mullahcrats. Ayatollah Taheri, Friday prayer leader of the city of Isfahan, resigned in protest earlier this year. "When I hear that some of the privileged progeny and special people, some of whom even don cloaks and turbans, are competing amongst themselves to amass the most wealth," he said, "I am drenched with the sweat of shame."

Meanwhile the clerical elite has mismanaged the nation into senseless poverty. With 9% of the world's oil and 15% of its natural gas, Iran should be a very rich country. It has a young, educated population and a long tradition of international commerce. But per capita income today is 7% below what it was before the revolution. Iranian economists estimate capital flight (to Dubai and other safe havens) at up to $3 billion a year.

No wonder so many students turn to the streets in protest. The dictatorship has been robbing them of their future.

Discontent Unveiled
Disaffected, denied opportunity and just plain bored, Iran's youth have taken their frustrations with the clerics' regime to the streets.

Iran U.S.

Population **** 67 million 283 million
Percent under ****** 25 65% 35%
GDP per capita ******* $1,800 $37,000
Inflation ******* 25% 2%
Unemployment ***** 18% 6%
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Department of Labor; Atieh Bahar Consulting; Forbes estimates.

***** IT IS A TRUE STORY ***** unfortunately!
the stats you see is a comparison.

58 posted on 07/19/2003 12:28:43 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (WHY?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 57 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
This Thread is now closed.

Join Us at the Iranian Alert -- DAY 40 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 7.19.2003 | DoctorZIn

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”

59 posted on 07/19/2003 1:23:07 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping
bump to read later...
60 posted on 07/19/2003 6:52:31 AM PDT by firewalk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 58 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
The Cuban Interests Section (search) in Washington did not respond to requests for comment, but a senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, "We are giving them the chance to find it and close it down."

Find it and close it down? Give me a break!

Tell em you got an hour. You do it or we do it...your choice.
61 posted on 07/19/2003 4:49:46 PM PDT by Valin (America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 56 | View Replies]

To: Valin
I think we have to call US Navy to prepare free fire on that positions.
62 posted on 07/19/2003 11:25:33 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 61 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-62 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson